With recent surveys showing that 75 percent of consumers use the Internet to find companies to do business with, having an Internet presence is no longer optional. And having to compete with all of the other law firm websites out there means that a basic static site probably won’t attract the attention of many prospects. You also need to focus on the user experience, aka UX.
A positive user experience can mean the difference between a web visitor becoming a customer or clicking away from your site. You need to draw people in, ensure they have a positive UX on your site, and keep them coming back for more if you want to maximize the benefits of your online presence. In order to do that, it’s important to understand exactly what a good experience entails for web visitors.
What is a Good User Experience?
A good user experience can vary depending on the type and purpose of the website, but the fundamental elements of a good user experience on every site include:
- Speed: The page should load quickly. Images that aren’t optimized, content that’s not formatted properly, problems with the server hosting your site, database issues, and poor coding are a few of the factors that can cause your site to load slowly. When users have to wait a long time for your site to come up or find it cumbersome to move between pages due to long load times, they are likely to move elsewhere on the Internet to a site that provides instant access to the info they need.
- Navigation: Users should be able to move around a website and easily find the information they want. If your site is hard to navigate or confusing to visitors, they are not going to stick around and put in the extra effort to find what they are looking for. There are millions of websites where they can find the information faster.
- Content: Is your website readable? Is the content informative or is it dense, keyword stuffed and difficult to understand? Visitors want to be able to quickly and easily read the information that they care about- and they expect it to be reasonably well written. If you provide substandard content that has a lot of typos and mistakes or that is hard to read, the visitors to your site are likely going to get a bad impression of your business that may be impossible to overcome.
- Effective use of graphics: While a picture may be worth a thousand words, graphics should be used judiciously and they should serve a purpose. While pictures and graphics can look nice, they can also be overwhelming and can take away from a site experience. Graphics that are too busy, that make your site take a long time to load, or that present an unappealing image will detract from the visitor’s experience. You should also be careful with the use of autoplay videos that automatically start when a user visits your site. This can prompt users to click away immediately if they are using the Internet in a quiet space.
Your site also needs to have an easy way for potential clients to reach out and contact you, and should have timely updated content so it never grows stale. Think about the needs of your prospects, what they are looking for, and what you would want to see if you were visiting your website. This will provide you with the guidance you need to create a good user experience.
Why Does a Good User Experience Matter?
A good user experience is going to impact your rankings on search engines, the website traffic that you get, and conversions (clicks turning to clients).
Sites that have missing or broken links are going to suffer when it comes to search engine algorithms, as are websites that aren’t optimized and have poorly written HTML coding. Search engines also look for fresh, relevant and engaging content, just like site visitors do. Poor SEO as a result of a badly designed website is going to mean a significant decline in site visitors. Search engine algorithms have also recently begun taking into account how your website works on mobile, so be sure not to neglect tablet and phone-friendly design principles.
Improved user experience is not just going to generate more traffic, but it’s also going to generate more relevant traffic and result in a higher conversion rate. Some studies have shown that an improved UX can increase conversion rates by as much as 400 percent. By making your website easier for consumers to use, you can build trust with potential clients and cause them to stick around your site long enough to contact you.
With so many benefits to making sure your site provides a good user experience, it is essential to consider usability in every phase of your web design. Professionals with experience in SEO and site design can provide invaluable assistance in making sure your site works as well as possible for your visitors.
Director, Web & SEO Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555